Sunday, June 17, 2012

20th Anniversary High School Redux

A few days ago, it occurred to me that it had been 20 years since I graduated from high school.   In celebration of this event, let me share some of my favorite memories from high school:

  1. During my freshmen year, my high school did not have an athletics program.  Due to demand, the school eventually started a program in my sophomore year.    I chose to run cross country in the fall and was among the first set of athletes to participate in official practices and events for the school. 
  2. Along the lines of athletics, my cross country team's first event was a memorable one.   I had run my race as a sophomore and was watching the rest of our team run in the varsity race.  One of my fellow sophomore friend & classmate was running in the varsity race.  At the sound of the gun, my friend took off SPRINTING.  He had run track in middle school but not distance running and he treated this face like a track meet.  Thus he led the 3.1 mile race for about 30 seconds before he faded and the rest of the pack caught up and passed him.    Even though my friend finished pretty far back, it is still a funny memory to remember.  
  3. October 17th, 1989.  That date will be memorable for those of us who lived in the Bay Area.  That was the date of the Loma Prieta Earthquake that struck at 5:04 PM.  The earthquake interrupted Game 3 of the Bay Bridge World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics.  It is also memorable to me and my cross country teammates as our team was participating in a race at Golden Gate Park that day.  I had completed my race and was waiting for the varsity runners to finish as well.  At 5:00 PM, I remember looking at my watch and hoping that my mom remembered to record the World Series game on TV.  A few minutes later, I remember feeling something shaking.  I thought someone was shaking the bench I was standing on until I realized the benches were bolted to the ground.  It was then that I (and the others around) that an earthquake had hit.  The rest of the time was a blur.  Many of my teammates lived close to me across town and it was a long few hours getting home.  We had some bonding time though and that was a positive in light of the effects of the earthquake. 
  4. I chose to participate in the sport of fencing in the spring.  Unfortunately, while trying to run through the hallway to get some snacks, I tripped and fractured my wrist and my fencing season ended abruptly.  I still hung around at practice and did some drills though never participated in any matches. 
  5. While my first fencing season was a lost one, my second season went a lot better.  To be honest, most of the season was a BLUR.  I remember winning at least one match though don't remember much else.  HOWEVER, whatever I did, I did enough to be named an alternative fencer for the All-City tournament.  When one of the three fencers in the tournament was hurt prior to the All-City, I got a chance to participate in my first and only All-City tournament.  I was eliminated pretty quickly but was named Most Improved Fencer during our Spring Sports Awards night. 
  6. It may surprise people, but I was not much of a student during high school.  My freshmen year went decently as I remember getting something along the lines of a 2.80 GPA.  My sophomore and junior years were less successful as I barely stayed about 2.0 GPA to stay eligible to play sports.  Yet, my senior year was a revelation.  I stayed about a 3.2 GPA (hitting 3.4 a few times) during my while senior year.  I did well enough to garner Student of the Month as well.  
  7. During my senior year, I had one of my best teachers ever.  That same teacher got me into reading a genre of books that I still read today.  The teacher taught english and she did something interesting.  She had the students fill out a form which inquired about things we liked to watch or read (I think).  After filling out the form, she recommended a book for us to read and write a report on.  The book that I was assigned?  The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton.  Even after 20 years, The Andromeda Strain is still easily the BEST book I have ever read.  That might explain why I still like to read sci-fi / thriller books to this day.  
  8. My senior year was a successful one academically but also athletically.  I didn't do great on the field but off the field, I had a good year.  I was named the Coaches Award winner for both cross-country in the fall and fencing in the spring.  During the spring awards dinner, I was also named the Athlete of the Year for the 1991-1992 season.  
  9. Not being a star athlete, I don't think I fully grasped what the award meant.  To me, the award meant you were "good" at your chosen sports.  But in reality, that was the "Most Valuable Player" award was for.  It took me a long time to realize that the Athlete of the Year was given as I was doing well academically, always gave a good effort athletically and overall was a good role model to other students. 
  10. Lastly, I made quite a few friendships during my time in high school, many of whom I still maintain.  There was a long standing one that has faded due to time / distance but was still a valuable one during the time it lasted.  

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